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The iPod Method for Spiritual Enlightenment

Many of us seek some form of enlightenment, a release from the mind, so that there can remain a simple capacity to just “be.” So off we run to workshops, travel to ashrams in India, chant on mountaintops in Tibet, sit on our meditation cushions, go to church, read spiritual texts, and even fall to our knees in prayer, seeking communion with God. I think we are missing the simplest way available to us in our modern technological age – the iPod.

The iPod actually has the power to transform our way of experiencing life, and re-integrating Joy back into our lives. You may think I am being facetious, or “cheeky” for you Brits, and to an extent you may be right, but at the same time I am also quite serious, for what it takes for true enlightenment to happen is for the mind to completely get out of the way of our experience so we can simply be present in the moment, and the iPod actually has a surprising capacity to facilitate that. The power of meditation lies in it’s ability to help us to witness our minds with the dispassion of a silent bystander. With practice we can learn to understand that we are not the thoughts that we have, but rather we are something much simpler, and at the same time much greater. The iPod provides for us a mechanism to still the mind, enabling us to experience the moment in freedom.

How so?

I may not know the exact bio-physical mechanism, but when we wear earbuds and play music that moves us, through our surrendering to the music and to our experience. our normal thought mechanism simply seems to go away. When our thought mechanism silences, there we can be, just there, enjoying the miraculousness of being.

While traveling recently in Europe, one of my favorite things to do was to go into the subway/tube/metro wearing earbuds from my iPod, and wander as the mass of humanity moved around me. These experiences, in London, Paris and Kiev were incredibly sublime. It often takes an intent to have this happen. It’s not like you simply plug in and you become transcendent. There is a bit of a recipe for this:

Take one iPod and add to it:

  • A mindful of music which has the capacity to deeply move you (for me I love Gorecki‘s 3rd Symphony, Tchaikovsky’s Opus 35, and Chopin’s Nocturnes, but sometimes it’s upbeat dance/spirit music such as the Neville Brothers, or Michael Franti and Spearhead).
  • 1 cup of desire to fully experience life
  • A pinch of curiosity as to what is actually happening at every moment

Mix together with a mass of humanity
Bake in a world full of wonder

With this recipe, at least for me, something completely transcendent and magical begins to happen. It is as if the river of life begins to flow in, out, through, and around me. All stories, loves, foibles and nuances of all of our completely human lives weave through the air. The miracle that we need to try to remain open to is that it is all happening all at the same time. Everything. In each moment. Though fluid, time stops, and there we are. Just there. Flowing there. Exactly there. Completely there.


3 replies on “The iPod Method for Spiritual Enlightenment”

A few weeks ago I was being wheeled through Marin General Hospital on a bed with wheels to the tunes of Josh Radin. It definitely added a sublime quality to the experience … gliding along, in tune and in harmony with the environment. I think hearing beauty must help our eyes see it around us.

thank you Lori. I teared up in reading your comment, for it is exactly what I am talking about. Amazing how sublime life can be, even while being wheeled through a hospital on a hospital bed. I like your addition of hearing beauty helping us to see it as well. I think I teared up because sometimes I feel alone in these experiences, and clearly you understand. Thanks. I hope you are feeling better and more up to “life” these days.

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